Look! A Relic from My Apartment Hunting Days

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When my husband (then boyfriend) and I were hunting for our first apartment over ten years ago, we created this little matrix in the back of one of our sketch books. As you can see, it's not fancy. In fact, it's a little messy — sort of like the hunt itself:

Choosing an apartment might not seem very complicated before you begin hunting, but in the midst of viewing apartment after apartment, things become less clear with each passing detail. We laid out this matrix at the point where we had easily narrowed it down to two choices, but were finding it impossible to choose between them. There's a column for the Chelsea apartment and a column for the "Brooklyn Heights" apartment — which makes me giggle at my newbie self because it was actually in Cobble Hill.

Under each apartment, we had a line for elements that were most important to us: rough size (studio, 1-bedroom), layout, characteristics of kitchen, characteristics of bathroom, characteristics of bedroom (if there was one), material finishes, location within building (I laugh now that we gave "front of building" more points than "rear of building"), commute time, and monthly rent. Since commute time and monthly rent meant the most to us, we multiplied those scores by 4 (assigned by us to signify just how much more important these details were to us than the others... four times more important).

The final scores were 46.5 for the Chelsea one-bedroom and 42 for the Cobble Hill studio. I remember this process being extremely helpful to us at the time, if only to help get us both onto the same page. But there's a surprise ending here... we ended up calling the Cobble Hill apartment home! Despite the longer commute and smaller size, there was just that intangible something that drew us to it. We lived there for many years before buying a small one-bedroom in Brooklyn Heights. I am so glad we did — that little studio shaped our early days in the city in ways I continue to realize and discover.

How do you choose once you've narrowed it down to two faves?

(Image: Regina Yunghans)